Nya P.

I gained the tools to be an effective yoga therapist, within a nurturing, supportive, non-competitive environment.

My journey into the eight limbs of yoga began with meditation. I started meditating in college, and began taking yoga classes in the mid-‘90s as a social activity with my friends. It was an event for us, like going to the theater; we could make a whole day of it. My yoga practice became more serious and dedicated after my knee surgeries in 2000. I tried many modalities to help me to manage my post-surgery pain and lack of mobility (acupuncture, Pilates, physical therapy, weight training), but it was in yoga that I found relief.

After traveling to India and studying yoga there, I decided to enroll in a teacher training. When I started to teach yoga, I found a satisfaction and purpose. Because yoga had done so much for me, helping me with my pain and also elevating my mood and entire outlook on life, I wanted to share with others the healing potential of yoga—and I decided that becoming a yoga therapist would be the best way to fulfill this dream.

In addition, I was very interested in mudras. I had worked for the National Theater of the Deaf when I was in my 20s, and I know sign language. Mudra connected me back to my firsthand knowledge of the expressive power of the hands. My training in yoga nidra also emphasized that there is an enormous amount of the brain that is devoted to the hands. If the hands can relax, the whole body can relax. Ultimately, I chose the Kripalu School of Integrative Yoga Therapy (KIYT) because yoga nidra and mudras are part of the curriculum. I had never imagined that there were so many mudras, and that they could be applied to specific conditions.

KIYT provided me with numerous holistic tools to be an effective yoga therapist within a nurturing, supportive, non-competitive scholastic environment. I was able to grow and be who I am at the same time, without judgment. There was no single idea of how to be a yoga therapist; the training supported multiple perspectives on health and well-being. I loved the format of one- to two-week intensives, where I could dive deeply into material without distraction. The relationships I formed I know will last and continue to develop and bloom throughout the rest of my life.

Today, I work with clients dealing with chronic pain, anxiety, and/or depression. We use journaling, body maps, mudras, pranayama, yoga nidra, and meditation, as well as asana, and together we develop a plan for their personal health and wellness goals. I’ve also created a deck of moon cards that introduce the lunar nityas—goddesses of each phase of the moon. Each card has a mantra, meditation, and journaling prompt. Along with developing my business, I plan to keep making therapeutic tools.